Sotheby's London, Sale of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Paintings, 11 October 1967, lot 122 Acquired by the parents of the present owner in London in 1968
Aivazovsky's Ninth Wave ranks among the most famous works in the State Russian Museum, and is for many the image which the artist's name conjures. Yet it is surprising how few oil paintings by Aivazovsky come to light in which the subject is a serious study of the stormy sea, the translucence of waves and the dramatic chiaroscuro effects this produces. The pentimenti in the lower right corner of the present work show traces of a sinking ship. His later work, Among the Waves (1898, fig.1) is one of the few comparable pieces to have appeared in recent years.
The present work is included in the numbered archive of the artist’s work compiled by Gianni Caffiero and Ivan Samarine.
Original canvas. There are some faint stretcher marks running horizontally across the canvas. There are fine lines of craquelure in places, mainly to the waves. The paint surface is fairly thin in places and there are scattered flecks of paint loss. UV light reveals a few areas of retouching in the lower half, in the top right corner and some scattered retouching to the sky. An opaque layer of discoloured varnish across the lower right quadrant prevents more conclusive examination. Recent cleaning has revealed some pentimenti in the lower right corner. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."